See the most popular attractions in Iceland, including Reykjavík, the Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon, the South Coast and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon on this 5-day trip to Iceland! This tour is for anyone who would like to relax on their vacation and let someone else take care of the details.
This tour is all-inclusive, making the most of a short stay in Iceland: Accommodation for 4 nights, and tours of all the best locations between the Blue Lagoon on Reykjanes peninsula to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the nearby Diamond Beach on the south coast. You will also hike on a glacier with a gorgeous view of the south coast.
You'll see plenty of waterfalls, a black sand beach, glaciers, and volcanoes. You'll also have the chance to explore Reykjavík and can add on extra options during your day on the famous Golden Circle, if sightseeing at some of the most popular places in the nation isn't exciting enough.
You can go horseback riding through the geothermal field near Gullfoss and try the silky-smooth tölt known only by the Icelandic horse. For more action, go snowmobiling on top of a nearby glacier. Or, for some real geological excitement, snorkel in Silfra gorge and float between two Continental plates and explore the mysteries of the deep blue waters.
You'll make your home in the city centre of Reykjavík for 3 nights, spending another night in Vatnajökull National Park so that you can fully embrace nature. This gives you plenty of time to enjoy the hiking trails in the countryside, just as much as the art galleries, museums, and cafés of the capital.
Enjoy the long summer days and explore all the best the country has to offer on this popular trip! Check availability by choosing a date. Reserve early to secure your spot.
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa and is the single most popular attraction in Iceland.
The water is rich in silica and sulphur that helps make your skin shine like a baby. The Blue Lagoon also operates a Research and Development facility that helps find cures for skin ailments using the mineral-rich water.
The temperature in the bathing and swimming area is very comfortable, and averages 37–39 °C (98–102 °F). There´s a restaurant there and it´s a truly romantic and beautiful place one should not miss while in Iceland.
The Golden Circle is a 300 km route to the 3 most popular natural attractions in Iceland. The Golden Circle consists of Geysir, Gullfoss and Thingvellir.
See this for Golden circle tours.
Geysir is a geyser that gives its name to hot springs all over the world. But although Geysir itself is not active anymore the area features spectacular hot springs such as the powerful Strokkur (spouting a vast amount of water every 10 minutes, regularly about 15-20 meters into the air), Smidur and Litli-Strokkur.
The 'Golden Waterfall', is the second part of the Golden Circle, and one of the most beautiful and powerful waterfalls in Iceland, plummeting 32 meters into the river gorge of the popular rafting river Hvita. It is Iocated about 10 km from Geysir.
The largest attraction of the Golden Circle is Thingvellir National Park. The Icelandic parliament was founded there in 930 and remained until the year 1798.
Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important places to visit in Iceland, not just for its historical and cultural values, but for also its magnificent landscape.
Thingvellir is surrounded by a beautiful mountain and volcano range and is the site of a rift valley, where the tectonic plates meet, marking the crest of the Mid-Atlantic ridge.
Of particular note at Thingvellir are the magnificent Almannagja gorge, and the beautiful lake Thingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland. The popular Gjabakkahellir lava cave is also in the area.
The fissure Silfra is located by Thingvallavatn, Iceland's largest lake, and is famous for its clear waters and popular for diving and snorkeling, as you can literally swim between continents.
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and the northernmost capital of a sovereign state in the world.
Despite a small population (120.000 and more than 200.000 in the Greater Reykjavik area), it is a vibrant city that draws an ever increasing number of visitors. It is the financial, cultural and governmental centre of Iceland. It also has a reputation of being one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world.
The city of Reykjavik is located in southwest Iceland by the creek of the same name. Throughout the ages, the landscape has been shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and the area is geothermal. Much of the current city area area was subglacial during the Ice Age, with the glacier reaching as far as the Álftanes peninsula, while other areas lay under the sea. After the end of the ice age the land rose as the glaciers drifted away, and it began to take on its present form.
The coastline of Reykjavik is set with peninsulas, coves, straights and islands, most notably the island of Videy, and seabirds and whales frequent the shores. The mountain ring as seen from the shore is particularly beautiful. Mount Esja is the highest mountain in the vicinity of Reykjavik and lends its distinct feature to the whole area. This majestic mountain is also highly popular for climbing. Other notable mountains that can be seen from the seaside are Akrafjall and Skardsheidi and on clear days one may even see as far to the legendary Snaefellsjokull glacier, at the end of the Snafellsnes peninsula.
The largest river to run through the city is Ellidaa in Ellidaardalur valley, which is also one of Iceland‘s best rivers for salmon fishing.
There are no trains or trams in Iceland, but most people travel by car. The city also operates a bus system. There are two major harbours in town, the old harbour in the centre and Sundahofn in the east. The domestic Reykjavik Airport is located at Vatnsmyrin, not far from the city centre and close to Oskjuhlid and Perlan. The international Keflavik Airport at Midnesheidi heath then lies around 50 km from the city. Cars, jeeps and bicycles can be readily rented in the city and many organized tours are also being offered.
The local arts scene is strong in Iceland, with both annual events and single ones, many of whom have hit the international stage. For the annual ones please check our articles Best Annual Events in Iceland and the Top Ten Festivals in Iceland. Major events taking place in Reykjavik include the Iceland Airwaves, Gay Pride, RIFF (The Reykjavik International Film Festival), The Reykjavik Literature Festival, Cultural Night, the Reykjavik Arts Festival, Food & Fun, the Reykjavik Fashion Festival and the Sónar music festival.
Among famous people from Reykjavik are artists Bjork Gudmundsdottir, Sigur Ros, writers Halldor Laxness (born in Laugavegur) and Arnaldur Indridason and mayor Jon Gnarr. For more well-known and fairly-well known Icelanders, check our article on the subject.
You might also want to check our article on some of the many things to see and do in Reykjavik, such as visiting the city‘s many museums, exhibitions and galleries, checking out live music, visiting the Harpa music hall or the theatres, visiting the lighthouse at Grotta, the main shopping street of Laugavegur, visiting the old harbour and the flea market, going on a bird- and whale watching tour or visiting Videy island. We also have a top ten list of things to do.
Make sure to visit the public square of Austurvollur, one of the city‘s most popular gathering places, where you‘ll also find the national parliament, Althingi, the state church a statue of independence hero Jon Sigurdson, as well as cafés, bars and restaurants. Austurvollur was central in the 2008 protests, along with Laekjargata, home to the House of Government. You are also not likely to miss the great church of Hallgrimskirkja that towers over the city from the hill of Skolavorduholt, wherefrom you‘ll get a great view of the city.
Try a walk by the city pond, greet the many birds that frequent the area and visit the city hall, stationed by its banks. The Hljomaskalagardur is a beautiful park that lies by the pond, it ideal for a nice walk and sometimes concerts get held there. Further off is the campus of the university of Iceland, the Nordic house and the Vatnsmyri wetland, a particularly pleasant place, but be mindful of not disturbing the wildlife there and keep to the pathways.
For a nice swim on a warm day, we particularly recommend Nautholsvik beach.
Visit the Laugardalur valley, home to one of the city‘s best swimming pools, as well as the Asmundarsafn gallery, a beautiful botanical garden and a domestic zoo. A walk by the Aegissida beach, with it‘s old fishing sheds, in the west part of Reykjavik also holds a particular charm. The aforementioned Elllidaardalur valley is also a popular resort.
Another place that offers one of the city‘s best (and free) views is Perlan, up in Oskjuhlid hill. The hill itself is a popular resort, with over 176.000 trees and great opportunities for walking and cycling.
Travel to Alftanes to see the president‘s house at Bessastadir, which is also a historical site in it‘s own right, having been the educational centre of Iceland for centuries. Nearby is a beautiful lava field, Galgahraun, well worth a visit, though there is currently an environmental struggle going on as to it‘s future state.
The city is furthermore a short drive from many of Iceland‘s major attractions, most famously the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon. In close vicinity you‘ll also find the Heidmork preservation area, a favourite pastime resort of the people of Reykjavik, as well as the Blue Mountains, one of Iceland‘s most beloved skiing venues.
Check our Best of Reykjavik guide further for tips on the best cheap things to do in Reykjavik, some of the best restaurants in the city, happy hours, the top ten value places to eat and our two articles on the famous Reykjavik nightlife; Nightlife in Reykjavik and Nightlife and mating.
Finally, we‘d like to stress that these are only some suggestions of the many things you might check out in Reykjavik. Whatever you choose to do, we hope you‘ll be able to make the most of your visit and we wish you a pleasant stay in our capital.
Jokulsarlon is a glacier lagoon in the south of Vatnajokull national park that is easily reached by the Ring Road.
Covered in thick glacial ice until the 1930’s when the glacier started retreating, the lagoon today measures 7 square miles (20 km2). More than 300 feet of ice still breaks away each year, reshaping the lagoon and filling it with icebergs - causing an alarmingly beautiful sight.
The water is freezing cold and contains a mixture of salt and freshwater giving it a blue-green color. There is plenty of fish and birdlife by the lagoon and the vast sand area of Breiðamerkursandur, and hundreds of seals stay there in winter.
Geysir is a famous hot spring in Haukadalur valley in South Iceland. Part of the ‘Golden Circle', Geysir gives its name to hot springs all over the world.
Though Geysir itself is hardly active anymore, the area features spectacular hot springs such as the powerful Strokkur, which spouts a vast amount of water every 10 minutes, around 15-20 meters into the air, Smidur and Litli-Strokkur.
North of Geysir are fumaroles, i.e. unlike the hot springs that emit hot water, only steam and gas emanate from these. You may be able to observe bright yellow stains at the fumaroles, this is native sulphur, which crystallizes from the steam. At the southern part of the geothermal area, called Thykkuhverir, you‘ll find various mud pots. Such mud pots are actually fumaroles that boil up through surface water/groundwater and may become steaming fumaroles during dry spells, rather than the usual boiling mud pots.
About 2 km from Geysir is an old preserved natural pool called Kúalaug. One can bathe in it and it has room for 3-5 people at a time, but care should be taken, as the area around the pool is very delicate. The temperature is 39-43°C, depending on how you are positioned in the pool. The water is slightly muddy, as the pool is built on soil, and the bottom is slippery due to algae, so caution is advised.
In Haukadalur there has also been tree planting in recent times and today the forest Haukadalsskógur is one of the largest in South Iceland. Aspen, various types of pine, and other plants have been tried out there and experiments and research continue. We also recommend visiting the tree museum, built in the memory of forester Gunnar Freysteinsson. There are good paths and roads in the forest and the wood is specially designed to accommodate wheelchairs.
Haukadalur has been a church site since ancient time. The current wooden church was last rebuilt in 1938 but the variety and appearance of the church dates back to 1842, making it one of the oldest of its kind in Iceland.
Haukadalur is indeed a historical place. It was settled during the age of settlement and scholar Ari “The Wise“ Thorgilsson grew up there. The first pastoral school in Iceland was also built there.
For accommodation, Hotel Gullfoss is about 7 km from the Geysir area, and closer still is the Hotel Geysir.
Gullfoss (translated to ‘Golden Falls’) is one of Iceland’s most iconic and beloved waterfalls, found on the Hvítá river canyon in south Iceland. The water in Hvítá river travels from the glacier Langjökull, finally cascading 32m down Gullfoss’ two stages in a dramatic display of nature’s raw power.
Because of the waterfall’s two stages, Gullfoss should actually be thought of as two separate waterfalls. The first, shorter stage of the waterfall is 11m, whilst the second stage is 21m. The canyon walls on both sides of the waterfall reach heights of up to 70m, descending into the 2.5km long Gullfossgjúfur canyon (geologists indicate that this canyon was formed by glacial outbursts at the beginning of the last age.)
In the summer, approximately 140 cubic metres of water surges down the waterfall every second, whilst in winter that number drops to around 109 cubic metres. With such energy, visitor’s should not be surprised to find themselves drenched by the waterfall’s mighty spray-off.
In the early days of the last century, Gullfoss was at the centre of much controversy regarding foreign investors and their desire to profit off Iceland’s nature. In the year 1907, an English businessman known only as Howells sought to utilise the waterfall’s energy and harboured ambitions to use its energy to fuel a hydroelectric plant.
At the time, Gullfoss was owned by a farmer named Tómas Tómasson. Tómas declined Howell’s offer to purchase the land, stating famously “I will not sell my friend!” He would, however, go on to lease Howells the land, inadvertently beginning the first chapter of Icelandic environmentalism.
It was Tómas’ daughter, Sigríður Tómasdóttir, who would lead the charge. Having grown up on her father’s sheep farm, she sought to get the lease contract nullified, hurriedly saving her own money to hire a lawyer. The ensuing legal battle was an uphill struggle; the case continued for years, forcing Sigríður to travel many times by foot to Reykjavík if only to keep the trial moving. Circumstances became so difficult that Sigríður threatened to throw herself into the waterfall if any construction began.
Thankfully, in 1929, the waterfall fell back into the hands of the Icelandic people. Today, Sigríður is recognised for her perseverance in protecting Gullfoss and is often hailed as Iceland’s first environmentalist. Her contribution is forever marked in stone; a plaque detailing her plight sits at the top of Gullfoss.
Besides Gullfoss, visitors can enjoy the views from Gullfoss Cafe, a locally run delicatessen that serves a wide variety of refreshments and meals. The menu has options to tantalise everyone’s taste buds; hot soups, sandwiches, salads and cakes. There is also a shop on site where visitors’ can browse and purchase traditional Icelandic souvenirs.
Thingvellir is one of the most important sites to visit in Iceland for its landscape, history and cultural value.
The Icelandic parliament was founded in Thingvellir in 930 and remained there for centuries.Thingvellir is surrounded by a beautiful mountain range and is the site of a rift valley, marking the crest of the Mid-Atlantic range. Today it is a natural park, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and considered a vital part of the ‘Golden triangle’ (with Geysir and Gullfoss). Of particular note is the magnificent gorge Almannagja, which marks the eastern boundary of the north American plate and into which the beautiful waterfall Oxararfoss falls.
Other notable attractions within the park include the beautiful lake Thingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland, the Silfra fissure, one of the world's top dives, and Gjabakkahellir, one of Iceland's most interesting lava tubes.
Starting time : Flexible
3 nights of accommodation in Reykjavik (different levels available; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels; more detailed info below)
Airport transfer on arrival/departure
Golden Circle sightseeing tour in a minibus (upgrades available with other activities)
South Coast 2-day minibus tour with glacier hiking
1 night of accommodation in a country hotel in Vatnajokull National Park during the 2-day south coast tour (breakfast included, private bathroom depending on availability)
Blue Lagoon standard entrance (upgrades available) and return transfer
Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland
Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary
Warm clothes. Windproof and rainproof clothing
Swimsuit & towel
Although it is summertime, the Icelandic weather can be very unpredictable. Please bring appropriate clothing. Please be aware that your itinerary may have to be rearranged to fit your arrival date and time better.
After your arrival at the international airport in Keflavík, you'll make your way to the northernmost capital in the world: Reykjavik!
Spend the rest of the day exploring Reykjavík and settle into your hotel room in the centre of town. You'll find plenty of interesting places to see, such as the Hallgrímskirkja church, Laugavegur and Skólavörðustígur shopping streets.
There are plenty of designer boutiques, quirky cafés, world-class restaurants, the Old Harbour, the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center, and Reykjavík's pond by the city council building, just to name a few of the places you can explore.
Transportation from the airport to Reykjavík is included, and you'll spend your first evening in Iceland there.
Go on a day tour of the Golden Circle. This is Iceland's most popular attraction. You'll visit Thingvellir, a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site - famous for its beauty as well as history. From there, you will visit the geothermal area of Geysir, where you can see the geyser Strokkur erupt 20-40 m (65-131 ft) up in the air, every few minutes.
Finally, you will visit Gullfoss waterfall, by many considered Iceland's most beautiful waterfall - its name means 'The Golden Falls.'
If you would like to relax rather than indulging in sporty activities such as snowmobiling or horseback riding on for this day, then you will be taken to Blue Lagoon at the end of the Golden Circle tour on this day rather than on Day 1.
Otherwise, your visit to the Blue Lagoon will be scheduled for your arrival or departure day instead, so you will have time to take full advantage of its restorative powers. The Lagoon is world-famous for its healing, mineral-rich waters - This is not a place you want to rush.
Finally, you'll spend another evening in Reykjavík, perhaps explore some of the city's exciting restaurants or go bar hopping among Reykjavík's favorite bars and nightclubs.
Start your trip along the south coast of Iceland and take in all the beauty it has to offer. First stop is at the black sands of the infamous Reynisfjara beach where you can admire the strength of the North Atlantic sea. Be careful to stay at least 20-30 metres away from the unpredictable and deadly surf.
Then, you'll make a stop in the cute Icelandic village Vík to stock up on snacks and finally end up at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, one of Iceland's most breathtaking locations. Nearby is the Diamond Beach: a black beach covered with icebergs that resemble diamonds glistening in the sun.
After you've spent a bit of time enjoying the scenery around the glacier lagoon and the Diamond Beach, and hopefully spotted a few seals playing on the icebergs as well, we'll head to our accommodation for the night.
You'll spend the night in a hotel on the south coast between the glacier lagoon and the village of Vík.
Today you'll go hiking on a glacier!
Then, you'll head towards Sólheimajökull glacier tongue where you will go glacier hiking - just remember to bring good hiking boots that crampons will fit on. Safety is always paramount in the wilds of Iceland. You'll have a spectacular view on a clear day from the glacier of the beautiful Icelandic nature. We'll spend about 90 minutes on the glacier, exploring the gorgeous ice.
During the drive back to Reykjavík, you'll make a stop by the stunning waterfalls Seljalandsfoss, Gljúfrabúi and Skógafoss on the way. Your guide will also make a stop at a hidden cave before reaching Reykjavík in the late evening.
You'll spend your last night in Reykjavík.
You'll get to spend your last day in Iceland exploring the capital, Reykjavík. Spend your final morning having a cup of coffee from a specialty roast shop or shopping for souvenirs.
If you have a few hours to spare due to a late flight, you can book a whale watching tour from Reykjavík's Old Harbour on for this day, where you can admire these magnificent animals out at sea for one last beautiful memory of Iceland.
Transportation to the airport from Reykjavík is included.
Have a comfortable flight home and come back soon!
See our accommodation levels below. Single person bookings will be arranged in a single room, while bookings of 2 or more people will share twin/double room(s) or triple room(s). If you are traveling in a group, but prefer a single room, please make separate bookings. For multi-day guided tours, accommodation cannot be upgraded and the levels below do not apply. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs.
Rooms with a private bathroom at three-star hotels such as Fosshótel Barón, or quality guesthouses. Located in the city center or in close vicinity. Breakfast is included.
This was a great trip and booking through Guide to Iceland made it incredibly easy. All you need to do is print out the vouchers and show up on time! My favorite parts of the 5 day package: South Coast tour and Snowmobiling on the glacier. It was very refreshing to get outside of busy city life and see the wonderful and powerful nature of Iceland. I recommend the trip and hope to be back one day!
The experience of Iceland is not to be believed - beauty and wonder, wildness, wilderness, city life, civility and camaraderie. The accommodations were luxurious, the tours or well-balanced and informative (and 100% on time). Our agent Embla pulled together an amazing package that showed us so much of this fabled land in so few days. She and everyone at Guide to Iceland responded quickly and personally to the smallest concerns, one could not hope for a better "travel partner." This was our first trip to Iceland, and we are already planning our next. And as we plan our next trip, we will definitely return to Guide to Iceland. Thanks so much for everything! 10 out of 10.
This was my second time visiting Iceland. The first time we came in winter and booked a 7 day tour with Guide to Iceland. That trip was so great that we decided to go for this one now. Again, this company did not disappoint. We booked fairly late so were worried about finding good accommodation. Fortunately, they had booked some very nice hotels in advance so that did not turn out to be a problem. The tours were great and we chose to to go inside a volcano too which was an amazing experience. Again, can highly recommend reserving with this company. This is high quality service for a reasonable price (compared to Iceland).